The Nomadic Audio Speakase is a brand new Kickstarter campaign by Morel featuring a fully featured open baffle Bluetooth loudspeaker system but pop it into its dedicated carry-on suitcase and you have a fully fledged loudspeaker system. Price is dependent on the package you take but for the case and speaker expect to pay around $400 on Kickstarter

When we were first asked to take a listen to this prototype I was, to say the least, a little sceptical. What we have is a Bluetooth APTX standalone speaker that slots into a wheeled carry-on suitcase that is being launched on Kickstarter this month and that won an Innovation Award at CES 2018. I’m sure you can understand my scepticism as this really isn’t the kind of product that we would usually entertain but I’m so glad we agreed to the review as I think this, let’s face it, gadget, will transform the way we listen to music when we travel. The Speakease is designed and made by well-known speaker manufacturer Morel and so it has a reputable history, which sort of sealed the deal for this review.


The Bluetooth speaker itself is 42 X 11 X 6 cm, weighs a kilogram and comes in a black colour with rose gold centre console that includes a volume control knob, a bass control knob, a treble control knob, the on/off button, a source/pair button for Bluetooth and a phone button. There is also a USB port so you can charge your phone. All in all, it’s an attractive lozenge shaped proposition that will fit in with modern home furnishings. Connectivity is wirelessly via Bluetooth or you can connect via a 3.5mm mini-jack. There is also to the opportunity to use “stereo mode pairing” where two of the units can connect together to give you a proper set of stereo speakers…but more of this later. The speaker has an onboard rechargeable battery with a ten hour lifecycle and which can be recharged via the mains from 100 to 240 volts, so wherever you find yourself in the world you are covered.

You get a Class D amplifier that will kick out 60 Watts (25 Watts RMS) and the speakers are two 6×4” woofers and two 22mm tweeters that sit independently, but in the middle of the woofers. Now here’s the interesting part of this design which really sets this speaker apart – the speakers are an open-baffle design, meaning the rear of the speakers are not enclosed in a box.

So that’s the speaker design out the way but you also get a relatively conventional trolley suitcase in with the deal and this is where things get interesting. It’s a fibreglass strengthened nylon polycarbonate design that is water resistant and has a handle and parts that are designed to be “rattle silenced” for reasons that will become apparent shortly. It’s a 40litre design that Nomadic Audio say should be OK for carry-on on all airlines. All in all it looks like a pretty standard modern suitcase, other than it having three cut-outs (which can be closed) on the side panel of one side of the case – this is where the Bluetooth speaker slots in, essentially turning it into a 40litre loudspeaker with a max SPL of 97dB @ 1metre and a claimed frequency response of 35 – 20,000 Hz. Getting the speaker into the case is a matter of slotting it in and fastening a couple of straps to keep it securely in place. All the speaker’s controls can be accessed from the panel and it takes a matter of seconds to slot it in or take it out, so if you do get asked to remove it at customs you aren’t going to be fiddling about overly.


First of all we took a listen to the Speakease as a standalone Bluetooth speaker and connected it to the smartphone via Bluetooth which was painless and took a few seconds. Press pair on the speaker, open the phone, access Bluetooth settings, hit pair and you’re done. I played John Martyn’s Solid Air first of all, it’s a good test track as it’s so well recorded. The sound of the speaker is typical of a largish Bluetooth speaker and was pleasing enough. Where it did stand somewhat apart is that it has a more audiophile feel to the sound – more open and more balanced with less emphasis on the bass – I find many Bluetooth speakers just too bass heavy and come out sounding all boom and tizz. There is plenty of detail in the sound and the open-baffle design does add a certain airiness to proceedings. All in all a pleasing and good sounding speaker that I’d be happy to live with in the bedroom or kitchen.

However, there are a million and one Bluetooth speakers out there and whilst this one does sound very nice, the unique selling point is the integration into the suitcase, which, as I mentioned, basically turns this unit into a 40 Litre Hifi loudspeaker. We popped a few clothes into the case for a couple of reasons: a. If you’re traveling you are likely to leave clothes in your suitcase – I always do anyway and b. We thought they’d offer a bit of dampening like you would find in a conventional loudspeaker.

Popping the unit in the case is simple and it takes up only a tiny amount of space – the company reckon 4%. Close the lid, pop it a little off the floor (like where you would pop your suitcase in a hotel) and play a tune. Our jaws basically dropped to the floor. You still have that very open sound but there is just so much more than before and the bass is just so much more pronounced – and in a good way. The music comes from the direction of the case, of course, but it also comes from around it in a rather pleasing kind of way. Detail in the music is very good with vocals forward in the mix and a lovely midrange. The words I kept writing down as I listened were balanced, detailed and open.

Popping on Juno Reactor’s Invisible, a hard party track, we’re rewarded with lovely tight synthesised bass has a reel slam and punch to it, which was way beyond what I was expecting from this box of tricks. Turn the volume up and you just have to party. The room, we have a large listening room, was filled easily.

Sweet Jane by the Velevet Underground was up next as it seemed an apt track with the opening lines “Standing on the corner, Suitcase in my hand” and we weren’t disappointed. Vocals were clear, again lots of insight and detail to the mix and again I’m going to use the word open.

We threw loads of different music at the Speakase and it sounded fab with them all, be that Lee Perry’s “Party Time” where we were treated to bouncy bass and snappy tops or Hawkwind’s “The Aubergine That Ate Rangoon” where we heard that openness once again.

Now Linette and I are party people and we travel a lot and often find ourselves in need of some form of music and the Speakase could be seen as a party in suitcase and I love that idea. Usually our traveling kit revolves around a Chord Poly and the Mojo and I could see us using the Speakase with the Chord kit plugged into the 3.5mm input on the front of the Speakase to give us access to all our tunes that we can listen to at proper volumes. Where I think the Speakase will come into its own for our use is having a case each and pairing them – this way we can enjoy a proper stereo set up in our room or when we put on one of our Hifi Pig parties.

If you are going on holiday and renting a place with a pool one or more of the Speakase are going to be perfect. Set it or them up, hit play and party.
So, it is a party in a box but it also has refinement and poise and will be a real treat for music lovers of any genre who don’t want to the music to end when they close their front door. With the Speakase you have a practical suitcase allied with a cracking Bluetooth speaker, but then combine the two you have an absolutely fabulous way to enjoy your tunes whilst away from your main rig.


We were chatting about the Speakase in the car earlier and when I was half way through writing up my notes and we both came up with it being the perfect, portable, party-prescription and I reckon that just about sums it up.

I hate gimmicks and gadgets that serve little point, but whilst yes, the Speakase could be seen as a gadget, it is also much more. Singularly you have a great sounding speaker you can enjoy whilst away from home. Buy your traveling partner one too and you basically have a full blown home Hifi whilst away from home.

Last year at the London Indulgence Show we put on a Hifi Pig party with a DJ and had to organise and set up speakers and wires and all the rest that goes with it. The next party we put on whilst away from home will be with a phone, a playlist and a pair of these.

Stuart Smith

Sceptical is the word that Stuart used when we were asked to review the Nomadic Audio Speakase before its Kickstarter launch and I must admit I was of exactly the same frame of mind.  Had it not been made by Morel with the involvement of PureAudioProject, the open baffle loudspeaker brand that we first encountered a few years ago on the new-comers stand at High End Munich, I don’t think we would have entertained it.  However, when a very clever loudspeaker designer, working with a loudspeaker and driver manufacturer that has a great reputation and heritage, asks you to have a listen to their speaker in a suitcase, you pay attention.

There are many, many standalone Bluetooth speakers on the market.  From the cheap and cheerful to the very high end.  The Nomadic Audio offering is definitely towards the higher end of the scale with a very easy on the eye design, featuring rose-gold accents and a slim, elegant and tactile body.  As a standalone unit the sound quality is excellent, clear and airy but with a good punch of clean bass.  So far so good.  However, popping the unit into its suitcase brings it totally alive.  It sounds like a proper hifi…to say I was gobsmacked was an understatement!  I was expecting a gimmick but what was delivered was a quality, hifi sound.  Still retaining the clear tops and mids, bass was delivered in a clean and lively package, with much more punch than with the standalone unit.

To me this is a no brainer.  If you travel a lot and love to listen to music at your destination then it is absolutely perfect for you.  If you travel as a couple and have a pair, even better. I suppose it just reinforces the fact that sometimes the most simple ideas are the best, and when implemented by a brand that has a true audio heritage, that simple idea becomes an incredible product.  It is a portable party in a case, built by audio specialists for nomadic party people.

Linette Smith


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